Voice-Over Rates | Non-Union Voice Acting

by Jason McCoy

Updated August 2022

One of the greatest benefits of working as a non-union voice actor is that you're free to set your own voice-over rates.


But if you're unsure how to price your voice-over services or want ideas for setting your voice-over rates, this is the guide to help you.


Voice-over rates typically start at $100 and increase from there based on word count, finished minutes and usage.


How much to charge for voice over work?

It's important to note that non-union voice actors don't have required voice-over rates like union voice acting (see the voice acting rates for SAG-AFTRA union voice actors here). 


The goal of this guide is to simplify voice-over rates based on research, voice actor bids and typical project budgets.


Of course, non-union voice acting rates are negotiable by nature.


Voice-over rates and client budgets can vary based on the type of client, where or how the client hires the voice talent, where the voice-over will be used, the usage term, and the complexity of the script itself.


Having an idea of what to charge (especially if you're just getting started in voice-over) will help make sure you're not undercutting yourself or pricing too high either.


This voice-over rate guide and the categories listed will be added to, revised and improved over time.


The Simple Voice-Over Rate Guide

There are several ways to determine the rates you'll charge to record a voice-over, but we'll cover two: simple voice-over rates or complex voice-over rates.


The simple voice-over rate guide starts by simply asking:


Is this voice-over for broadcast (tv, radio, internet ad) or non-broadcast (elearning, ivr, etc.)?


If it's a non-broadcast voice-over, the rate is based on the word count or finished length.


Pretty easy right?


If the voice-over is for broadcast usage, the next questions are:


"Where will it be broadcast?" (local, regional, national, worldwide)


and


"How long will it be used?" (typically 13 weeks, 1 year, perpetuity).


Using the simple voice-over rate guide helps keep your pricing consistent, but can become way off for some niches (like audiobooks).

Simple Non-Broadcast Voice-Over Rate Guide

Finished Minutes

Word Count

Rate Range (USD)

0 - 2 minutes

300 words of less

$100 - $250

2 - 5 minutes

300 - 750 words

$250 - $500

5 - 15 minutes

750 - 2,250 words

$500 - $750

How to Figure Out Finished Minutes Based on Word Count

How do you know how long the voice-over will end up being?


You can determine the total length or "finished minutes" with some quick and easy calculations to come up with an estimate.


If you read the script at an average read speed, then you will read 150 words per minute.


So if you have a 7,000 word script and you read the script at a normal reading speed of 150 words per minute, you'll end up with approximately 46.6 minutes (7,000 / 150 = 46.6) of voice-over or around 47 finished minutes.


If the project requires you to read faster, you'll want to use something like 160 words per minute.


If you plan to read slower than normal, you'll use a word-per-minute rate of 140.


This also means, a 60-second script should be around 150 words and a 30-second script should be around 75 words.


If there are more or less words, you can adjust your read speed accordingly to hit the correct timing.


For an even more personalized word-count, read a page from the actual script you are quoting for 1 minute. When 1 minute is up, copy the portion of the script up to the last word you read, paste it into a Word document or Google Sheet and check the word count. This will tell you how many words you read in 1 minute.


The Complex Voice-Over Rate Guide

The complex voice-over rate guide is a little more complicated. Rates vary based on the category of the voice-over.

Voice-Over Rate by Category

What kind of voice-over are you recording?


Audio Book Voice-Over Rates

Audio book voice-over rates for non-union voice actors typically range from $150 to $350 per finished hour (PFH) of audio. You can determine the estimated hours of finished audio by word count.


Here's the audio book voice-over rate formula you can use:

$300

PER FINISHED HOUR

Total Word Count / 150 = Finished Minutes

Finished Minutes / 60 = Finished Hours

Finished Hours x $300 = Audio Book Quote

To help, here's an example voice-over rate for an audiobook:

Audio book voice-over rate example:

65,000 word audio book script

65,000 words / 150 = 433 finished minutes of voice-over
433 finished minutes / 60 = 7.2 finished hours of voice-over

7.2 finished hours x $300 = $2,160

In this example, the voice-over rate for this project would be $2,160.


e-Learning Voice-Over Rates

e-Learning voice-over rates are based on word count and include editing and saving several individual files.


The per word e-learning voice-over rate for non-union voice actors ranges from 20 cents (for basic scripts) to 35 cents (for technical scripts) per word for up to 50,000 words. If over 50,000 words, the bulk rate may be as low as 15 cents per word.


Since e-learning usually involves saving out hundreds or even thousands of individual files, an additional per file cost of $1 is normal.


If the client would like a live directed session while you record an elearning script, this would add a $150 per hour fee.


Here's the voice-over rate formula for quoting e-learning projects:

$0.25

PER WORD

Total Word Count x $0.25 = e-Learning Recording Fee
# of files saved x $1 = File Split Fee
e-Learning Recording Fee + File Split Fee = e-Learning Quote

To help, here's an example e-learning project:

eLearning Voice-Over Rate Example:

35,000 word e-learning script, saved as 75 individual audio files.

35,000 words x $0.25 = $8,750
75 files x $1 = $75

$8,750 + $75 = $8,825

In this example, the voice-over rate for this project would be $8,825.


Explainer Video Voice-Over Rates

Voice-Over Rates for explainer videos is one of the easiest to quote.


An explainer video is usually up to 90 seconds in length, and a common rate is $300.


If you're recording more than one explainer video script in the same session, the rate per video is often reduced to $250 per video.

$300

PER :90 VIDEO

90-second explainer video (up to 225 words) = $300
2+ videos - $50 per video discount = $250/video


If script is over 225 words, the rate increases by an additional $50 per 100 words over.

Here's a very easy to follow example of an explainer video project:

Explainer Video Voice-Over Rate Example:

200 word explainer video script.

1 explainer video voice-over up to 90-seconds x $300 = $300

In this example, the voice-over rate for this explainer video would be $300.


Narration Voice-Over Rates

Quoting a non-broadcast narration typically takes two factors into consideration: the finished length of the voice-over & complexity of the script.


For a basic narration, the cost starts at $350 for up to 2 minutes of finished voice-over. The longer the script, the lower the per minute cost.


More technical scripts would see a 10% increase in rates.

$350

UP TO 2 MINUTES

Up to 2 Minutes = $350
Up to 5 Minutes = $450
Up to 10 Minutes = $550
Up to 15 Minutes = $650
Up to 20 Minutes = $750
Up to 30 Minutes = $950
Up to 40 Minutes = $1,250
Above 40 Minutes = $0.20 per word


For medical or technical scripts, add 10%.

To help, here's an example narration project:

Narration Voice-Over Rate Example:

2,872 word narration script.

2,872 Words / 150 = 19.15 Estimated finished minutes

Up to 20 Minute Rate = $750

In this example, the voice-over rate of $750 for up to 20 minute narration would apply.


Phone IVR & On-Hold Message Voice-Over Rates

Phone IVR and on-hold messaging voice-over rates start with a $150 minimum project fee and are usually based on word count or total length.

$250

UP TO 300 WORDS

Up to 300 words = $250
Up to 1,000 words = $500
Up to 2,500 words = $750
Up to 4,500 words = $1,000
Up to 6,000 words = $1,250
Up to 30 Minutes = $950
Up to 40 Minutes = $1,250
Above 40 Minutes = $0.20 per word

To help, here's an example phone IVR project:

Phone Voice-Over Rate Example:

655 word IVR phone script for a local transportation company.

A script containing 655 words would fall within the Up to 1,000 words rate of $500.

If you're too high for a client's budget, you can also pro-rate: 655 words / 1,000 words = 0.655 x $500 = $327.50


Radio Commercial Voice-Over Rates

Radio broadcast commercial voice-over rates take in to consideration the area or market where the voice-over will be heard and the length of time the usage is granted.


These rates are for either a 30 or 60-second radio commercial voice-over. 

LOCAL

RADIO USAGE

13 Weeks = $350

1 Year = $650

Perpetuity = $1,000

REGIONAL

RADIO USAGE

13 Weeks = $650

1 Year = $850

Perpetuity = $1,200

NATIONAL

RADIO USAGE

13 Weeks = $850

1 Year = $1,400

Perpetuity = $1,850


TV Commercial Voice-Over Rates

TV broadcast commercial voice-over rates depend on the market where the commercial voice-over will be heard and the length of time the usage is granted. 


These rates are for either a 30 or 60-second TV commercial voice-over. 

LOCAL

TV USAGE

13 Weeks = $650

1 Year = $1,100

Perpetuity = $1,650

REGIONAL

TV USAGE

13 Weeks = $1,100

1 Year = $1,650

Perpetuity = $3,500

NATIONAL

TV USAGE

13 Weeks = $1,650

1 Year = $3,500

Perpetuity = $6,500


Video Game Voice-Over Rates

Video game voice-over rates are billed per hour with a 2-hour minimum and 4-hour maximum to prevent vocal stain.

$300

PER HOUR

2 hour-long session = $600


Web Broadcast Voice-Over Rates

Web broadcast commercial voice-over rates assume the voice-over could be heard anywhere in the world but the actual rate depends on the length of time the usage is granted. 


This would be ads placed on social media, YouTube, and streaming services.

ONLINE

WEB USAGE

13 Weeks = $500

1 Year = $850

Perpetuity = $1,500


What Voice-Over Rates would you like added?

Now you know how much to charge for voiceover.

Is there a voiceover rate category you'd like to see added?

Is there a rate you disagree with?

If so, be sure to leave a comment and let me know. 

Voiceover Success Guide

Free Download: 
5-Steps to 
Voice-Over Success


LEARN EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW
TO GET STARTED IN VOICE-OVER!

  • I just got asked to quote a children’s online learning game. It’s 550 individual words and they asked me to split and label them into 550 separate files. I ended up timing how many words I would read in a minute (in this case 50 since there were pauses between them) so maybe the final recording would be around 11 minutes. Then I think I read somewhere that a per minute rate for eLearning would be $24 per minute which brings us to $264. But then I struggled, should I really charge them $550 MORE to split the files? How would you have approached the whole thing? I was honestly all over the place trying to figure it out.

    • Hi Robyn,

      I would give them a break on the file splitting since it’s so many. There are ways to automate the file splitting so it won’t take long to do. I probably would have used the simple rate guide – 11 minutes, maybe $500 and then $200 for file splitting.

  • I need to know what a basic non union hourly rate for TTS Voice Work would be ?

  • Hi Jason,

    This is an awesome and helpful guide! I was wondering if you are going to update the rest of the categories:
    Phone IVR & On-Hold Message Voice-Over Rates
    Radio Commercial Voice-Over Rates
    TV Commercial Voice-Over Rates
    Video Game Voice-Over Rates
    Web Broadcast Voice-Over Rates

    Please do. Thank you very much!

      • Mark Velasco says:

        Finishing this guide would be a tremendous help. Also, back in the Narration Voice-Over Rates, you have a word count of 2,872/150.
        Where did you get the 150 from? Thanks

        • Hi Mark,

          150 is the average number of words read per minute. I’ll definitely work to finish this voiceover rates guide as soon as possible. Is there a category you’re most interested in?

          • Mark Velasco says:

            Jason,
            I appreciate the reply. I’m looking for TV, Radio, & Web broadcasting rates. I see others list each one for Local, regional, and national for 3 different time frames more or less (13 weeks, 6 months, a year). Plus a buyout or perpetuity rate.

            Thanks,
            Mark

  • {"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}
    >